There was no better way to finish the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games then winning the first spots for surfing for the next Olympics.
congratulations to Japan for winning the national men’s team place for Paris 2024 and United States who claimed that place for the national women’s team.
Read more about the quota places here.
On top of the Olympics won, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Kirra Pinkerton (US) won individual titles.
Day eight was packed with drama, joy, titles and twists in the Paris 2024 qualifier in the final heats on Saturday (September 24) in Huntington Beach, California.
Read on for the full review of Saturday’s action, plus watch highlights and full recaps of how Day 8 unfolded on the Olympic Channel via Olympics.com.
Time of Day: Hello Paris 2024
The Olympics may be two years away, but Paris 2024 was certainly the center of attention on Saturday.
With two quota spots available for the top-performing teams at the 2022 ISA Surfing Games, one per gender, the stakes were high and mathematical calculations for points were constantly being counted.
Several athletes tried to keep their country’s hopes alive, but in the end it came down to the final heat for both spots on offer.
Team USA’s men had a good chance of taking the men’s spot until both Kolohe Andino and Nat Young were eliminated for the final on Saturday. Their women’s team performed well throughout the competition with Gabriela Bryan and Zoe McDougall progressed through the rounds, but it was Kirra Pinkerton who went all out. In securing the individual title, she also helped secure an Olympic spot for a Team USA woman to compete in the Paris 2024 surfing competition taking place in Tahiti, French Polynesia.
“Every heat has been almost impossible,” Pinkerton said after her win. “The fact that it all came together in the end, I’m totally impressed now.”
In the hunt for quotas for men, Huntington Beach local Igarashi was in fierce form, leading his country’s onslaught despite fierce fighting from Indonesia, Australia and Portugal.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalist took Japan’s spot alongside his Japanese teammates. Kamiyama Keanu and fellow Olympian Murakami Shun.
Our eye fell on: Mick Fanning
There was no shortage of fans on the beach making noise today.
However, we saw a pretty familiar face with the Australian team, none other than three-time WSL World Champion, Mick Fanning.
The Australian surf icon showed up to add some love, encouragement and volume to the cheers of his compatriots.
Australian surf legend Mick Fanning on the beach to cheer for green and gold
As It Happened: Day Eight at 2022 ISA World Surfing Games
It was drama and action from the start. There were even a few power cuts to spice things up on final day.
Australia’s Jackson Baker took to the skies in his first heat, showing how eager he was to taste glory. He reached the final but was unable to beat an in-form Igarashi.
Proving he’s the real deal, Rio Waida took his surfing and fitness to new heights. The Indonesian surfed 14 times during the event after falling in the repechage in round 1. He undoubtedly has more to offer on the WSL Championship Tour.
The surprising performer of the men’s competition was Guilherme Fonseca (POR) whose daring surf got him into the final. His resilience in the competition has been impressive and it probably won’t be the last we’ll see of him.
But in the end, Igarashi couldn’t be matched and earned a total of 15.96 in two waves, as Waida finished second with 14.04 and Baker third with 11.67.
“That was certainly very special,” said Igarashi after his win. “Of course an individual victory is great, but to know that I’ve secured Japan’s place in the upcoming Olympics, wow, that’s such a special feeling.”
In the women’s race, Pinkerton (13.63) took her most significant win to date, having won the 2018 WSL Junior World Championship.
The 20-year-old impressed in California with her backhand turns, surpassing experienced veterans from France Pauline Ado (13) and that of Australia Sally Fitzgibbons (11.6) which the young rising star could not match.
“I’m incredibly happy now,” Pinkerton said. “I don’t even know what to say, this whole week has been really cool.”
What’s next: Surfing’s Paris 2024 journey continues
While this event marks the beginning of the surf trip to Paris 2024, there is much more to come.
Here’s an overview of what the rest of the surfing qualifying process looks like, knowing that Japanese men and team USA women have now secured one spot each.
- Tour 2023: The highest ranked 10 eligible men and 8 eligible women.
ISA World Surfing Games:
- 2022 & 2024 – The winning teams by gender will qualify for 1 place for their respective country. The NOC nominates the surfer of their choice at the end of the qualification system process.
- 2023 – highest ranked eligible male and female by continent from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania (total 4 males + 4 females)
- 2024 – highest ranked 5 eligible men and 7 eligible women
2023 Pan American Games:
- The highest ranked man and woman in the surfing competitions qualify for a continental slot for America.
- France is guaranteed a place for 1 man and 1 woman to host. If an athlete(s) from France has already qualified, the slot(s) will be reassigned to the next eligible surfer(s) with the highest ranking of the 2024 ISA WSG.
- This is intended to promote development and provide opportunities for smaller countries to help develop the sport of surfing worldwide.
1 man and 1 woman deserve a Universality Place.
September 16 – 24
Surfing | Olympic Qualifying Tournament | ISA World Games | Huntington Beach